When you decide to end your marriage, you might wish to get the divorce and move on with your life as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, legal cases are rarely quick, and South Carolina has many laws dictating waiting periods and other requirements for a divorce. The length of your divorce case can depend on many different factors, including the following.
Your Grounds for Divorce:
South Carolina allows you to cite no-fault grounds for divorce or fault-based grounds, which can include adultery and other types of marital misconduct. Many people might choose to file a no-fault case if there has not been misconduct or if they do not want to prove misconduct as part of the court case. However, no-fault divorce requires that you and your spouse have been living separately for one year prior to filing for divorce, which significantly delays initiating the divorce process.
On the other hand, you can file a fault-based divorce without a specific period of separation. There is a 90-day waiting period before you can request your final hearing, but you do not have to wait one year to file.
Whether You and Your Spouse Can Agree:
If you and your spouse agree on all relevant issues in your divorce, such as property division and child custody, you can file for an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support. An Order of Separate Maintenance and Support is a temporary order and does not cover the issue of divorce—or end the parties’ marriage. Issues such as child custody, visitation and support, property division, spousal support, and other issues beyond the actual divorce are addressed in an Order of Separate Maintenance and Support. If you and your spouse cannot agree, you might need to go through mediation or litigation to resolve the necessary issues, which can take significantly more time. The case is then heard by a Judge, who will decide the issues or review and approve an agreement between the parties.